Saturday, August 25, 2012

New York Police Criticized For Shooting 9 Bystanders While Taking Down Gunman

New York police were unquestionably justified in shooting at an armed gunman who had just shot and killed a former co-worker on a busy street outside the Empire State Building, but some of the bystanders who were shot by police in the process are criticizing the responding police officers for shooting randomly at the armed gunman, who never fired any shots. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an outspoken opponent of gun rights, admitted that some of the nine bystanders who were shot may have been hit by shots fired by police. It now turns out that all nine victims were struck by bullets fired by police. From the Guardian:

Questions have been raised over the New York police department's handling of a shooting near the Empire State Building after armed officers injured nine passers-by as they pursued a gunman who had just shot dead his former boss.
One of those injured by police told the Guardian that officers appeared to fire "randomly" as they confronted Jeffrey Johnson, 58, minutes after a workplace dispute escalated into a chaotic shootout in one of the busiest parts of Manhattan.
Reports suggest that while Johnson drew his gun when he was confronted by officers, he did not fire; all those injured appear to have been shot by police. The New York police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, said officers had no choice but to act as they did: police discharged 14 rounds and the gunman died at the scene . . .

Robert Asika was among those wounded, shot in the elbow from a distance of around eight feet by one of the two police officers who confronted Johnson. He accused police of "shooting randomly", and said he saw at least two others hit by police bullets.
"If you're gonna aim try and aim perfectly. If you wanna aim at the target, you got to know what you're doing because it's the street," Asika said. "I could have been dead right now. I could have been dead." . . .  
Asika said Bloomberg visited him in hospital, but he received no apology from police. He was discharged with his arm bandaged and in a sling. 
A surveillance video shown below captured the entire scene where police confronted Johnson and began firing on him until he fell to the ground dead. Police shot a total of 14 rounds at Johnson even though he never returned fire.


Unknown said...

If you have not walked in those shoes, you have NO RIGHT to criticize the actions of the police (speaking to your article, not you).
Real life is NOT a TV show where everything turns out just dandy in 47 minutes of programming.

Indy Rob said...

To quote Mayor Bloomberg ": "Once again, there are an awful lot of guns out there." "
I guess shooting nine bystanders shows that the police have too many guns, too.
Do you think the mayor will advocate to take guns away from everyone, including the police?

CircleCityScribe said...

New York is a very densely populated city, the most densely populated in our country.

Engaging an armed man is NOT comparable to going to a firing range.

Bottom line, the shooting was necessary and proper. Collateral damage can be expected when one MUST, out of necessity, discharge a firearm in a densely populated area.

The NYPD did what had to be done.

Citizen Kane said...

We have every right to criticize the police; they are employed by us and they should not randomly being shooting us. Random shooting is what street thugs do, hitting everyone within spitting distance and unloading a barrage or bullets. Maybe they acted appropriately in this situation, but it appears at a minimum, a few of them may need more training.

Gary R. Welsh said...

You're being way too generous, Indy4u2c. The video clearly shows both cops firing from a short distance at the armed man. They shot 14 rounds and managed to hit 9 bystanders, none of whom were standing that close to the man upon whom they were firing. They clearly need more training before they are returned to the streets with a gun.

mphill109 said...

Better question...what does this have to do with Indiana? Cops get gunned down all the time in other parts of this country but we never have a threat about it...

Indy Rob said...

From the video released of the shots being fired, it looks like one of the officers was firing and taking several steps away from his target. It looks like he panicked. Between the two officer's seventeen shoots, three hit their target and fourteen went into the crowd.(WSJ says more than 16 shoots were fired, another source said 9 shots were fired by one officer, 8 by the other)

I'm not criticizing the NYPD, I'm criticizing the way those two officers confronted the shooter and opened fire from several feet away. Then backing away while continuing to fire.

Unknown said...

It's just too bad some of you can't come face to face with death from about ten feet away and just see how freaking perfect you are!
And somebody better look up the definition of "random." Because if you REALLY think the police were "randomly shooting," you have it completely wrong. I will guarantee you, the two police officers were trying VERY hard to hit the offender with EVERY shot, not just "randomly shooting."
Also, the distance of the offender they were TRYING to STOP and the distance to the citizens who were hit has NOTHING to do with each other.
In addition, I saw one witness who said he saw people running and heard the gunshots, but STOOD THERE because he wanted to see what was happening. He then got shot in the elbow for being so stupid.
There may be a possibility that more training is needed, but I don't know the particulars of NYPD. Maybe they have to buy their own ammunition.

Cato said...

Wake up. The cops don't care about you. They'll kill you as soon as look at you, and they won't lose a day of their freedom or a nickel from their pensions.

To police, you are expendable. Your life is worthless. They care only about increasing their power and wealth, and a few less of you won't have much of a dent int he tax rolls.

Republican adoration of police and all forms of anti-freedom armed governmental power proves their unfitness of any public role in America.